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Chew The P.H.A.T.: Policies and How to's in Assistive Technology


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This presentation describes how a school district in one of the fastest growing counties in the United States developed a thriving assistive technology practice.

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Chew The P.H.A.T.: Policies and How to's in Assistive Technology

  1. 1. Chew The P.H.A.T. Procedures and How-To’s in Assistive Technology Christopher Bugaj, MA CCC-SLP Sally Norton-Darr, MS CCC-SLP Loudoun County Public Schools February 2009
  2. 2. A Description of Loudoun County <ul><li>Once upon a time in a county far, far away… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Loudoun County Public Schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Currently 75 schools (51 ES, 13 MS, 1 Intermediate, 10 HS) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Current student population: 57,317+ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Current teacher population: 4500+ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Student and teacher population has increased by approximately 10% each year for at least the last 9-10 years. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Special education population is typically 10% of the student population. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The county is geographically and demographically diverse (spanning 517 sq. miles). </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Generally, the western portion of the county is more rural while the eastern portion of the county is more suburban. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. History of AT in LCPS <ul><ul><li>Pre-1999- </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>AT team was on a volunteer basis to meet the need mandated by IDEA that AT is considered for each Individual Education Program </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mostly Occupational Therapists and Speech-Language Pathologists </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Individuals donated time to participate in trainings and would unofficially consult when educators had questions about AT </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Team members made recommendations to county administrators regarding purchase information for specific devices and software </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>County computers were both Mac and PC </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. History of AT in LCPS <ul><ul><li>1999-2001 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Special Education hired one full-time Assistive Technology person (SLP) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Volunteers still participated in trainings and met with the full-time individual </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No official procedures were implemented </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Request for evaluation forms and county-wide staff development workshops were developed </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Individual staff and student trainings on devices/software were offered on a case-by-case basis </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Equipment selection and ordering was handled by the full-time AT individual </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. History of AT in LCPS <ul><ul><li>2002- </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Special Education hired a 5 person team </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2 Full-time members (both with special education backgrounds) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1 of these members was deemed “Team Leader” and met with a special education supervisor to give team updates </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>3 Part-time members (1 - SLP, 2- OTs) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The team was asked to develop consistent policies and procedures for county-wide implementation. The only directive given by Special Education administration was that an evaluation process needed to be linked to a student’s Individualized Education Program. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. History of AT in LCPS <ul><ul><li>2002 continued- </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Other initial objectives determined by the team included: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Identifying a Service Delivery Model </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Establishing a Staff Development Model </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Coordinating services with Instructional Technology </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Developing an inventory tracking system </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Developing a caseload/student tracking system </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Promoting assistive technology services </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Procuring additional equipment as needed for students and classrooms </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Further defining the role of assistive technology services in LCPS (our district) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Team Progression <ul><ul><li>2003-2004 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>3 Full-Time team members (2 – Special Education, 1-SLP) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1 full-time team member is “team leader” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>3 Part-Time team members (1-SLP, 2-OTs) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2004-2005 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>5 Full-Time team members (1- Special Education, 2-SLPs, 2-OTs) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1 full-time team member is “team leader” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2005-2008 (Three Years) – </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Switched to a school-based workload model (05-06) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1 Full-time Coordinator (12 months) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>7 Full-Time team members (2-Special Education, 2-SLPs, 2-OTs, 1-TRT),1 Support Staff </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2008-2009 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1 Full-time Coordinator (12 months) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>9 Full-Time team members including 1 Support Staff </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Individualized Evaluation <ul><ul><ul><li>IEP Team meets and requests Individual AT Evaluation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ An AT evaluation is requested by the IEP 1x in the customary educational environment to be completed within 65 days.” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Case manager fills out Request for AT Evaluation form linking request to specific IEP goals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>NOT A FISHING EXPEDITION </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>AT Trainers (Primary & Back-up) conduct the evaluation including an observation(s), student interview (if appropriate), case manager interview, and related services interview </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>IT’S ALL ABOUT TEAMING </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Individualized Evaluation (Cont.) <ul><ul><ul><li>AT Trainer generates a report containing observations, recommendations, and other resources. AT Trainer discusses recommendations with case manager </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>DO NOT ATTEND IEP MEETING! </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>IEP reconvenes to discuss implementation of recommendations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>AT Trainer provides training and expects follow-up contact from the case manager </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>CASE MANAGER COLLECTS DATA ON GOALS </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The process is dynamic </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>IT NEVER ENDS but it does get slower </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Classroom Evaluation <ul><ul><li>QUICK AND EASY </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Special Education teachers request an observation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>General Education teachers who have a class with 2 or more students in special education request an observation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Recommendations are generated that would benefit most (or all) students in the classroom </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Report generated is in E-mail form </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>INFORMAL & FRIENDLY </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Many students become familiar with strategies with or without the teacher support. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>STUDENTS JUST USE THE STUFF </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Strategies and devices are used in a classroom as a whole </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>PRE-EMPTS POTENTIAL FUTURE INDIVIDUAL EVALS </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Pre-IEP Meeting Discussions <ul><ul><ul><li>After doing many individual evaluations, over 90% of our recommendations were for items/strategies that were already available in the school </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Examples of strategies: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Promotion of service delivery model changed from “Do an Individual AT Evaluation” to “Just call us! Don’t write anything in the IEP until you call us!” This resulted in </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Less paperwork for teachers </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Less paperwork for AT Trainers </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Students getting to use strategies much faster </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Record Sound Feature in Microsoft Office </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Graphic Organizing Templates </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pacing Boards for Communication </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Communication Notebooks </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>High Contrast Feature of Windows </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Visual Schedules </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Text-To-Speech </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Social Situation Stories </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. “ Traditional” Staff Development <ul><li>AT Overviews </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Offered by each AT Trainer at every school </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discuss how service delivery model works </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Workshops </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Approximately 1 after-school workshop a week </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Initially, all workshops at AT Lab. To increase attendance, workshops moved to schools (cut down on drive time) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide individual school workshops by request </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teachers are paid to attend (not much, but they are paid) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ALL workshops center around tools currently available in the school (No “Co:Writer” workshops because “Co:Writer” is not universally installed throughout the county) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fun and informal (snacks provided too) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Count toward re-certification points </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. “ Alternative” Staff Development <ul><li>AT Website – (No more newsletter) </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Goal: To be convenient and helpful (not too much stuff!) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Handpicked Resources </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>FAQs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Training Videos </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>AT-A-Day Calendar </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One strategy a day, rip-off calendar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distributed to all special education staff (800) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coordinating with IT and others </li></ul></ul><ul><li>AT Tonight DVDs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2 DVDs containing 5 short videos each </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teachers check out the DVD, watch the videos, answer questions and return to get 1 hour of staff development credit </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Other Team Initiatives <ul><ul><li>-Student Clubs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-Pilot Programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-Blackboard Facilitation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-Participation on County-Wide Technology Committees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-Software Integration (Read&Write Gold, Boardmaker) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-Assistive Technology Awareness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-School Career Day </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-Parent Resource Workshops </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-Administrative Workshops </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-Technology Conference Participation and Presentations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-Regional and State Consortium Involvement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-AT Lab </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. World Premiere!! The Practical (and Fun) guide to Assistive Technology in the Public Schools Available soon from
  16. 16. Contact Us <ul><li>Christopher Bugaj </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sally Norton-Darr </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><li>AT Office: 571-252-2111 </li></ul>Thank you for joining us!